Matthew, Chapter 9; Mark, Chapter 2; and Luke, Chapter 5, all convey Jesus’ teaching about “the old wine versus the new wine.” The context of the teaching is that the people were asking Jesus why his disciples didn’t fast and pray as did John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees.
Jesus answered that his disciples could not fast while he was with them. We can learn from this that fasting and praying were designed to prepare us to be blessed, while Jesus’ disciples were already blessed just having him with them, so they didn’t need to fast and pray for blessings.
Jesus continued, explaining that the “new wine” of abiding in Christ’s presence was singularly distinct from the “old wine” of religious rituals and traditions, and that the two traditions were incompatible.
The account in Luke’s gospel adds a warning that those who get accustomed to drinking the old wine will prefer it to the new wine and will say “The old is better.” The New Testament is filled with the principles of abiding in the Lord’s presence, but conspicuously absent are any rituals or traditions that we need to observe in order to have his presence with us.
This new way of life in Christ is best summed up in his first message as he walked along calling his disciples: “Repent and believe, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We might call it the “Jesus Two Step.” We see that he has made things very simple for us, even if things are not always easy for us.
If we are holding on to anything but the saving power of Christ himself for our salvation, we need to repent of it and place our trust exclusively in Christ himself for our salvation.
This has far reaching implications, but, if followed, it will always lead to fellowship with Christ himself.
— Brad Heilhecker